Homemade Garam Masala
Have a delicious recipe that calls for garam masala spice? You can make your own with this simple garam masala recipe!
While I do love all the spices in my spice drawer, I tend to gravitate towards the spice blends. Because when I need to get dinner on the table quickly and want to add more depth and flavor to a dish, it’s just so much easier to reach for one spice jar rather than a bunch of them.
This garam masala is just that. An aromatic blend of Indian-inspired spices that’s perfect for bringing cozy, fragrant flavor to all sorts of dishes.
Garam masala is typically made by toasting whole spices then blending them together. In an effort to make this recipe more approachable to the western home chef, where whole spices might not be as common, we’re making this easy garam masala with pre-ground spices.
What is garam masala?
Garam masala is a blend of spices that varies from region-to-region and person-to-person. Generally speaking, garam masala includes: cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves. It sometimes also includes bay leaves, mace, fennel, and chilies.
So is there a difference between garam masala and curry powder? Yes! Curry powder is based largely on turmeric, which accounts for its yellow color. It’s usually also more mild than garam masala, with a different flavor profile. (This is probably because curry powder is not actually an authentic Indian spice, but was created by the British!)
Ingredients in garam masala
This Indian-inspired garam masala is meant to be an approachable spice blend for home cooks who don’t have access to whole spices, using just the basic spices you probably already have in your cabinet! To make this garam masala you’ll need:
- Black Pepper
Recipes using garam masala
Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate garam masala into dishes!
- Chickpea Tikka Masala: A fragrant, creamy curry that replaces the chicken with chickpeas.
- Chana Dal: Spiced split chickpeas served over a heap of rice.
- Aloo Gobi: A one-pot dish of spiced potatoes and cauliflower.
- Matar Paneer: A paneer curry with peas and cashews.
But you can also cook this garam masala into a kitchen sink sort of curry (i.e. without a recipe). For busy weeknights, I like to throw a dash of oil, garlic, ginger, and garam masala into a pot. Cook until fragrant, then add coconut milk, soy sauce, and some spice (like chili garlic sauce or sriracha). Once hot, mix in sautéed veggies (eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, whatever you have on hand). Boom, flavorful dinner coming right up!
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Combine all spices. Taste and adjust to suit your preference. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.